Peter Paul Rubens Portrait of Michael Ophovius (1570-1637)
The black and white habit worn by this man tells us that he is a Dominican monk. He is Michael Ophovius, who from 1608 was Prior of St. Paul’s monastery in Antwerp. Rubens painted the Prior with outstretched hand and parted lips, as if he were debating or delivering a sermon. Ophovius’s sympathies lay with the Spanish, a position that would cost him dear. He was locked up in the Prison Gate here in The Hague for almost two years.
Rubens was the leading Flemish painter of the seventeenth century. With his flamboyant, baroque style, he influenced an entire generation of artists that came after him.
Dominican monastery, Antwerp, c.1615/1617-c.1795; J.F. de Vinck van Wesel, Antwerp, 1813; Henricus-Josephus, Baron Stier van Aertselaer, Antwerp, 1814-1822; acquired by King William I for the Mauritshuis, 1822